A week in education

4th June 2010 at 01:00

Orkney tops the league for having the biggest proportion of chartered teachers in any authority by some distance - 5.4 per cent, against the Scottish average of 1.8 per cent and compared with 3 per cent in East Dunbartonshire which is runner-up. The figures, released this week by the General Teaching Council for Scotland, show there are 1,010 chartered teachers in Scotland, with another 4,890 undertaking the CT programme. The data also reveals that chartered teachers are overwhelmingly concentrated in the older age groups - most are aged 51-55 (276), followed by the 56- 60s (224).

Glasgow's new council leader Gordon Matheson has turned to one of his supporters, and veteran Labour councillor, Jean McFadden to take charge of the education brief. It follows a shake-up of portfolios after Mr Matheson, a former education convener, became leader in the wake of the scandal surrounding former leader Steven Purcell. Mrs McFadden, 68, was council leader in Glasgow twice between 1980 and 1994, and is well- connected in Labour circles.

Scotland reached a milestone last week, with the 1,000th eco-school achieving green flag status - the highest accolade in the programme. Education Secretary Michael Russell was on hand to congratulate St Joseph's Primary in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire which, like other schools with the award, had to "demonstrate an outstanding, pupil-led commitment to sustainability across the whole school community and through pupils' learning". Almost every school in Scotland is in the eco-schools programme, and Mr Russell launched a second action plan to promote sustainable development via schools.

Edinburgh's education leader, Marilyne MacLaren, narrowly survived a backbench revolt from within her own party last week. She held her position by just a single vote, one of which was her own. Councillor MacLaren has held the position since the formation of the city council's Lib DemSNP coalition administration in 2007. But her handling of school closure and budget issues has made her tenure a testing one.

Glasgow's strong showing in inspectorate reports on its nursery schools continues. Hilltop Nursery in the King's Park area has been accorded three scores of "excellent" for meeting learning needs, improvement through self-evaluation and the children's experience. The only recommendation for the school was that it should carry on doing as well as it has been. This is the third report from HMIE highly commending pre-school centres, the others being Bonnybroom and Lochview.

Dumfries and Galloway child protection services were given a mixed verdict by inspectors. They received three evaluations of "good", two of "unsatisfactory" and one of "weak". The HMIE-led team found that support for some families was not quick enough and the quality of services was not consistent enough.

Motor racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart joined the Education Secretary to launch new guidelines for identifying children with dyslexia. The former world champion, who suffers from the condition which went undiagnosed when he was at school, is president of Dyslexia Scotland. The toolkit has been piloted since January and is regarded as a key resource for teachers who all have to be alert to literacy and numeracy problems in the era of the new curriculum.

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